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Old 05-06-2011, 07:36 PM   #1
KEN PHENIX OP
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Unfinished Business . . . . . . . between me and the road

My last attempt at the Saddlesore 1000 last December my hopes were dashed by 45mph headwinds and a vanishing end witness. This time too, Mother Nature was determined to make me earn every mile.



I pulled out at 9am Central time Friday 4/29 bound for Centennial, Colorado, in 24 hours or less. The first half of the ride was pleasant and uneventful, that is if you call sunny and 70 uneventful. I made excellent time.

Not far past Wichita Falls I ran into a snag. Traffic began to stack up, then stopped dead.



I saw smoke in the distance and could only assume with the drought conditions we've experienced that the strong westerly wind had blown a wildfire too close to the highway. After a time we began to crawl ahead and then took a detour onto FM1763 through the parched farmland. What a dust bowl! I got a snoot full. This diversion cost me over an hour and I had to fight that fierce crosswind until sundown. The signs went by, Memphis, Amarilo, Dalhart and by the time I reached Raton Pass the temp had dropped to 25 degrees. I had layered on all the winter gear I drought. I must add that the new PIAA HID driving lights are amazing! I could see small animals crossing the highway far in front of me. For the first time I actually felt comfortable maintaining highway speed at night, especially on that stretch of I-25 between Raton and Trinidad. At my next gas stop in Walsenburg I got a shot of the sign - 29 degrees.



I took a long break in Colorado Springs and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. Onward. I'm so close now. I can feel the fatigue. That last hour silly things were going on inside my helmet as I did my best to stay alert. I turned on the GPS to guide me in. Last fuel stop 6:10am Mountain time - 1,010 MILES. NO RECEIPT! The attendant had just arrived to open the store and I walked inside to have a receipt printed. WHEW!



A few minutes later I was enjoying the warm hospitality of my good friend Dom Chang and his family. Alright, I was a basket case and they were there to pick up the pieces.


(photo courtesy of Dom Chang)
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KEN PHENIX screwed with this post 05-06-2011 at 07:45 PM
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:58 PM   #2
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After a 4 hour nap Dom led me across town to get a new rear tire mounted on the Bandit.


(photo courtesy of Dom Chang)

Saturday evening I had the pleasure of helping to wrench on the new hack a little. It was an honor to observe the joining of Strom and hack. I even got to serve as monkey on the test ride.



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Old 05-06-2011, 08:14 PM   #3
KEN PHENIX OP
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Sunday morning we headed north to Ft Collins and then west on Cache la Poudre Rd. Did I mention . . . . . COLORADO IS GORGEOUS!!





We stopped at this rock tunnel and played around with our cameras a bit.



Psst . . . . here comes the food porn. We stopped at Glen Echo for some AMAZING burgers!





It is unknown how many napkins were used in the consumption of those bacon swiss burgers. We pressed on gaining altitude toward Walden until the road became a little "slushy" and had to turn back.






(photo courtesy of Dom Chang)

Our return route included Stove Prairie Rd where we were treated to a nice snow flurry - remember, I'm from the gulf coast so you have to understand that riding through snow made me absolutely giddy. Dom did not share my enthusiasm. We stopped for pics here and I captured this shot purely by accident.
A thousand words



We made the short slab ride back before dark. 285 miles total. What an amazing day!
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:59 AM   #4
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Monday morning. Time to head south. I so wanted to see more mountains and snow but foreboding clouds covered the front range.

I had the pleasure of meeting facebook friend and rider Bob for lunch in Colorado Springs as snow showers came.



Southward. I'll be back in Texas tonight. Rain in the forecast. Clouds loom. I reached Walsenburg knowing this was my last chance. Do I slab it home in disgrace or go for it? What do you think? I took off west on 160 willing to take whatever mischief old Mother Nature had in store for me - at least one more mountain pass before heading back to the flatlands.



To my surprise, she smiled on me and held the clouds at bay. I made it to La Veta Pass and captured this shot.



I doubled back through La Veta on CO 12 for a view of The Spanish Peaks. As I climbed the pavement became increasingly wet. The temperature was falling. It's 4pm and I'm in the middle of a loop in mountains barely maintaining 30mph - do I turn back or press on? Again, Mother Nature smiled and held the sun high in the sky a bit longer.





Once I passed Stonewall, the road was dry and I could make better time. I stopped for a quick bite in Trinidad and headed south for New Mexico.

Raton Pass. US 87 seems to get longer as the temperature drops, and it seems mighty long down in the low 30's. I never expected to be wearing my electrics in May but I was sure thankful I brought them. I decided to call it a night around 9pm and got a room in Dalhart. Tuesday morning it's still in the low 30's.



I donned my gear and checked out. I spoke to a rider staying a few doors down bound for Colorado. He had minimal gear and had no choice but to wait for the mercury to rise. By the time I finished my breakfast in Amarillo it was 50 degrees outside and I peeled off a couple of layers. Mother Nature was much kinder to me than on the way up. The wind kicked up only occasionally. I encountered only moderate traffic through Fort Worth. I'm actually getting used to the drill: darkness falls, temp drops, Ken pulls over and layers up. I took it easy and made it home around 1:00 am. 2,466 miles. I love Colorado!
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:17 AM   #5
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Oh yeah, here's all the pics! Enjoy!
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Old 05-08-2011, 08:39 AM   #6
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Looks like a great time, fantastic pics, thanx for sharing!

Oh, and where exactly was that restaurant with the burger? I'm passing through Colorado in June and would love to try one.
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Old 05-08-2011, 08:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Ford View Post
Looks like a great time, fantastic pics, thanx for sharing!

Oh, and where exactly was that restaurant with the burger? I'm passing through Colorado in June and would love to try one.
Glen Echo Lodge on CO-14 "Cache la Poudre Rd" just west of Ft Collins. I must admit that was the best burger I've had in a long time.



http://www.glenechoresort.com/
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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smugmug map it feature

Just tinkering with my smugmug and hit the new "map this" button and voila!

http://maps.smugmug.com/?feedType=ge...6865773_pdtxcz
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Old 05-28-2011, 05:25 AM   #9
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I'm in!

I received an email from Michael Kneebone. My ride has been approved.
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Old 07-06-2011, 01:23 AM   #10
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